Emin Milli was born in Baku as Emin Abdullayev and changed his name to Milli only recently . He has graduated from Baku State University, and holds a Master’s degree from Saarland University. He has worked for International Republican Institute and has been the Azerbaijan assistant to the Friedrich Ebert Foundation co-ordinating director for the Southern Caucasus in Tbilissi/Georgia between 2002 and 2004. Milli also was a consultant and legal expert for the Council of Europe in matters concerning political prisoners in Azerbaijan in more than 40 cases.
Detention and trial
On 8 July 2009, Emin Milli and another Azeri youth activist and blogger Adnan Hajizade were assaulted and severely beaten by two men in a restaurant in downtown Baku. Milli and Hajizada went to file a complaint about the assault, but instead police detained them and opened a criminal case against both, who are charged with hooliganism.
On 10 July 2009, Judge Rauf Ahmedov of the Sabail district court in Baku placed both of them in pretrial detention for two months. Günter Nooke, German Federal Commissioner for Human Rights who was present in Baku during their trial but had to wait before the court and eventually, was the only one allowed to see Emin Milli for a few minutes. Subsequently, higher court rejected their appeal.
Reporters Without Borders, OSCE, and European Union, as well as a number of foreign countries have strongly condemned Milli and Hajizade’s arrest, while the case prompted protests from 18 officials of the University of Richmond, where Adnan studied and from BP, who employs him.
Investigation in Milli and Hajizade’s case was concluded on 22 August and an additional charge was brought against them (“deliberately inflicting minor bodily harm”). On 4 September, Judge Araz Huseynov presided over the preparatory session where a variety of defense motions, including one to have the charges dropped, another to permit media coverage of the proceedings and a motion to set the defendants free on bail for the duration of their trial were denied. After two months of court hearings both Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli were found guilty. Adnan was sentenced two, Emin two-and-a-half years of prison.